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IDC: IBM Brings Up the Middle

In 2004 the worldwide application deployment software markets raked in just under $7 billion in software revenues, according to a new IDC study. IBM continued its reign as top vendor, though BEA and Oracle both held their own in the competitive market.

IDC defines the application deployment software market as message and transaction server middleware, which includes Web and integration servers, as well as the related gateways, adapters and connectors. The market's growth in 2004 represented a 6.4 percent increase over 2003, and IDC has forecast a 4.7 percent compound annual growth rate through 2009.

Overall IBM took the top spot with a 37 percent market share and an 18 percent growth rate. In its second quarter, 2005 earnings report, IBM identified its WebSphere middleware business as being one of the fastest-growing areas of IBM's software business. IBM claims that WebSphere has shown revenue growth in each of the last 28 quarters.

IBM's lead, however, was based on Windows, OS/400 and mainframe shares. On Linux and Unix, BEA actually holds the top spot, which was good enough to give BEA a 12 percent market share of the overall worldwide application deployment market.

Oracle came in third at 7 percent, with IDC noting that Larry Ellison's firm was growing at twice the market average in the space.

IDC believes that despite the growth in the middleware market, it is still unclear whether it will continue the pace into the next decade or if it will get pushed down inside packaged applications and/or operating software.

In April, Gartner reported that the middleware market was worth $6.7 billion in 2004, a 5.8 percent increase over 2003.

As in the IDC study, IBM held the overall lead with a 37 percent share. BEA was second at 7.2 percent and Fujitsu was third at 6.3 percent. Oracle held only a 4.4 percent share, according to Gartner.